The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever
Once in a while you discover a hidden gem, something a little rough round the edges but with a hidden beauty that makes you want to rush out and show friends, family, random strangers on the street, something that puts a smile on your face and a little spring in your step. This is "The Best Party Ever".
This is a lo-fi indie-pop album of simplistic greatness. It sounds like it's been created in a bed sit during a hot summer of sun, alcohol and mixed emotions. With all the hype over any band that has boys, guitars and "cool" haircuts, this is a refreshing breeze. An echo back to simpler times when tunes, interesting lyrics and flutes (yes, I said flutes) are the soundtrack to your travels.
And yet there's a subtle dark side undertone to these tunes. Something quietly sinister just bubbling away under the surface. Why would you be Sleeping with a Gun Under My Pillow? This song sounds like the long lost relative of Syd Barrett's Dominoes, all slightly askewed acoustic guitars and distant vocals, making you think twice about closing your eyes... What could be out there? Monsters could well be the answer, but this is an anthem for the Bridget Jones class, a rallying cry to the singletons who have to put up with their friends who are busy having babies and saying how wonderful it is (when we really all know that it's a bit rubbish).
This maybe the best party ever but it's not going to be the most cheery one. In this way The Boy Least Likey To reminds me of Belle And Sebastian and Morrissey (the band name is a reworking of a Morrissey song title); dark lyrics wrapped in an almost digestible musical wrapping. Hugging my grudge is the perfect example:
"I have weapons and battle plans
but in my heart
I know I can't ever protect you from things I don't understand
and when I hold you in my arms
it scares me just to think that something
so beautiful could just come apart in my hands"
All this surrounded in gentle acoustic guitars, harmonica and coming across like a Dylan track recently uncovered my Scorsese. The chorus is almost a rallying cry to the world over:
"I don't think I'll ever be happy
unless I'm unhappy and hugging my grudge".
But don't this put you off - all these songs are surprisingly uplifting. Their simple delivery is the cornerstone to this. Apparently they record the songs and then strip them down to the bare minimum - there's no overproduction or gloss to this album at all. There's also charm and plenty of humour to this record. The artwork looks like the drawings from a nursery class - cute animals with balloons, weird and wonderful creatures (in fact, if you go to their website you can download your own animals, leaflets and posters!). Then there's My Tiger My Heart a beautiful song that sounds like an ode to a difficult friendship (in this case a tiger who eats butterflies), which could be the theme tune for the next Winnie the Pooh or Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.
Although this might sound childish it isn't. It's not music for kids as the lyrics show. This is music for all kinds of people - from the singletons in their bed sits to the married in their houses (with kids, of course). Maybe released at the wrong time of year for the full summer vibe, this is a great slice of pure indie-pop that deserves to be listened to by a whole bunch of "kids".